15 Apr 2018

Stress Awareness Day, Stress Awareness Month

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April is National Stress Awareness Month, with a focused National Stress Awareness Day is on April 16th. The day after federal taxes are due. Coincidence? We think not – begging the question about whether it’s less stressful to have finished taxes the day before, or more stressful once you know what you owe.

Aside from taxes, April is generally a happy month: The humorous April Fool’s Day; spring in full bloom; Easter Day, Passover freedom; and school spring breaks. Why then, is April chosen as National Stress Awareness Month? We researched this question, but didn’t find an answer. Nonetheless, we could conjecture that if you’re going about your daily life, perhaps the reemergence of warmer weather makes the mind clearer, and the soul better to cope with stress. Maybe it’s the renewal of April that allows for an easier focus on how to handle stress best.

No matter the reason for holding National Stress Awareness in April, it’s been commemorated in the US since 1992, and the concentration on stress is beneficial for any of us. We are all stressed at times – some more than others (Type A versus Type B, anyone?). A main key to adulthood lies in how well we deal with stress.

Here are recommended tips for handling stress:

  1. Breathe mindfully (this is not some hippy thing –it really does lower stress.) A few times a day, be conscious of your breathing, taking a deep breath in and slowly releasing it. Do this three times in a row.
  2. Exercise. Whenever you are physically able, try to move your body for improved circulation and tension release, ideally breaking a sweat if you’re up to it. If not, just move as best as possible, even if you’re only able to move slightly.
  3. Write things out. If you are feeling frustrated about a particular situation, write a letter to yourself or to someone else (and don’t mail it). Write out your feelings about why you feel this way. Then, set it aside and read it after 1-3 days. Just writing it out can serve as a stress release by getting it off your chest in a contained fashion. Even before you read it over after time, the writing might give you enough step-back-and-see-the-big-picture space in order to keep calmer.
  4. Communicate verbally. Be sure to express your concerns verbally with your loved ones (and caretakers if need be). Open up. By connecting closely with one another, we are less stressed.

At Rockaway Care Center, residents are often stressed about their health, their prognoses, and their own abilities to recover, and accept assistance on a regular basis. In addition, residents’ loved ones are also stressed about their care. Everyone is looking for the best solutions for all involved, which can feel stressful.  And that’s largely our role at Rockaway Care Center – to facilitate solutions for recovery and encourage social interaction among residents, staff, and visiting loved ones. The more support, the less stress. So take advantage of National Stress Awareness Day and National Stress Awareness Month, and plan how you and your Rockaway Care Center resident can keep stress levels to a minimum.


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